Why critical thinking matters


As an undergraduate at NTU, I have found that critical thinking is encouraged in classroom discussions. In theory, the goal of critical thinking can be said to make you a devil’s advocate. No opinion or argument is flawless; you can and will, seemingly for its own sake, find fault with anything a person says. Of course, this sounds like a surefire way to gain unpopularity.

However, by moulding you into an independent thinker, critical thinking brings benefits that far outweigh its initial drawbacks.

Here are three reasons why critical thinking matters: Continue reading

It’s philosophy, not chim-o-nology

‘By Michael Biech (Philosophy) / Wikimedia Commons’

Philosophy is often misunderstood. Many NTU students tend to see philosophy as a chim (profound) subject because when they think of philosophy, they think of or remember how difficult philosophical text can be to understand. For example, here’s a quote from the French philosopher, Jacques Derrida in his essay, Différance: Continue reading

Overweight luggage? Check. Missed the bus? Check.

Post-exchange travel rarely happens smoothly, especially if it’s also your first time travelling alone, like it was for me. All sorts of problems can materialise: delayed flights, missing an interstate bus, leaving something behind, overweight luggage… the list is endless. For me, my constant worry was about luggage weight or missing an interstate bus or flight.

While travelling in the United States after my exchange at the University of Missouri-Columbia, I mainly rode the interstate bus, Megabus, from state to state. Besides the lower cost, it’s better than flying as you get to admire the scenery zooming past. Like planes though, interstate buses in the US have weight limits on luggage, set at 50lbs (about 23kg). Because I had just spent a semester on exchange in Missouri and accumulated a pile of school notes, university merchandise and band T-shirts from metal concerts that I attended, I constantly worried about being denied entry when boarding the bus.

My dorm room the night before I left the University of Missouri-Columbia. Notice the remaining items that still need to be packed into the almost-full suitcase. Continue reading

Chasing storms, bands and friends in the USA

A furnace. That’s what Singapore feels like after returning from a nearly five-month getaway in cooler countries such as the US and Japan. Although, to be fair, I was only in those countries during late winter, spring and early summer. I heard that summers in the US and Japan could be warmer than it usually is in Singapore.

The University of Missouri-Columbia

It had always been my dream to visit America some day. This is mainly because it has an individualistic culture that I can relate to better than Asia’s collectivistic culture. Also, it is simply a new place to explore. As I travelled alone, I relied on Google Maps heavily. Even though I’m back in Singapore, I now find myself consulting Google Maps even when travelling to everyday locations.

Sightseeing is typically the focus of a student’s post-exchange travels, but it was different for me. While I still went sightseeing, my post-exchange vacation was more social and musical. I’m an appreciator of heavy metal and its various sub-genres, and I have been writing about metal on and off for five years now.

Many metal bands hail from America, with Metallica being the most famous. (Although I’d argue they are a hard rock band.) And many fellow writers I’ve befriended on the Internet are from the land of the free, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks coffee, too.  Continue reading